It’s going to a big weekend in the Westfield W-League, with some big names ready to make their mark.
Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United
Newcastle enter the fray this weekend and it will be the first opportunity for fans to see gun German defender Ariane Hingst in action after the Jet-s opening round bye.
The prospect of fielding a team with Hingst as the defensive general also thrills new coach Clayton Zane, who describes the international signing as one of the great leaders in the game. “She doesn-t stop for the whole match, really drives the team forward and is a big motivator”.
The Lady Jets boast a formidable line-up with Matildas Melissa Barbieri, Lisa De Vanna and Emily Van Egmond joining Hingst on the newcomers list and Zane expects big things from his experienced stars. With the remainder of his talented squad still relatively young he says he-ll be looking to those four to settle the game.
Their opponents for this one, Adelaide United, held their own for the first half against Canberra in their opening fixture but see this week as an equally tough prospect. New coach Dave Edmondson welcomes back American Ashleigh Gunning who returns from Europe on Friday and will be straight into the action.
While Gunning-s presence is a boost, Edmondson says he requires a cohesive team effort. He saw some pleasing things from his side in the first hit-out and with no ‘easy- games in this short season he says the Reds will be concentrating on their own performance and focus on continued improvement each match.
Canberra United v Perth Glory
Canberra cruised into top spot on the table after a 4-1 win at Hindmarsh and Coach Jitka Klimkova expects more of the offensive, attacking football that United showed in the second half, when they run out at McKellar Park this Saturday.
Undeniably happy with their first up win, Klimkova was especially pleased with the performance of Caitlin Munoz, who she described as being in great shape and invaluable in her ability to read the game.
While Munoz impressed with her brace, Michelle Heyman-s double also pleased the coach. ”She was so excited to get out there before the game, and then to score almost straight away was a perfect result”.
Lauding Sally Shipard-s second half effort as game changing, Klimkova again expects a high tempo match on the weekend when Perth come to the Capital.
The new-look Glory side had its first run under new Coach Jamie Harnwell when they flew to Melbourne and though they suffered a 2-nil loss, Harnwell thought they played quite well but lacked penetration in the final third where they were unable to break down the Melbourne defence.
It-s something he-s been working on this week, which will no doubt be helped by the arrival of New Zealand striker Emma Kete to the side. Harnwell expects English import Katie Holtham to step up again this week and to be ably supported by Ella Mastrantonio in the midfield.
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Melbourne backed up last season-s highest-ever finish with a strong start and showed signs that the big improvement of last year was no accident. Coach Vicki Linton was delighted with the result and the confidence that it gives her young side. Acknowledging that playing Sydney away is always a challenge, she feels that a strong team effort will give individuals opportunities to shine.
Jodie Taylor is one she highlights as set for a big game. After battling injury for most of last year, Taylor is now fully fit and despite not getting on the scoresheet in the opening match, Linton was buoyant about her performance and excited about what she will offer.
With the likes of Steph Catley, Caitlin Friend and Rebekah Stott backing up the scintillating form of Ashley Brown in the Victory ranks, Sydney will be made to work hard.
Sydney have USA superstar Megan Rapinoe playing her last match in Sky Blue this weekend and coach Alen Stajcic believes that having had a match to assess the league, her last one will be big.
While Stajcic was generally pleased with the latter part of the Sky Blues opening performance , he says another slow start from his side could well be punished by the young talent of the Victory.
Sydney have a tough start to the season facing all top four challengers in the first four weeks, and with many of their stars absent and Caitlin Foord still recovering from injury, the task is even bigger. They welcome back American keeper Allison Lipsher this week, but it-s the other end of the park that Stajcic would like to see the ball in the back of the net.
Brisbane – bye
All the action from Round 2 of the Westfield W-League will be on ABC1 at 3.00pm Saturday.